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Mass Worship: capturing the emotion that erupts in a society that has lost its future vision

Swedish darkened metal band MASS WORSHIP are gearing up to release their sophomore full-length album, Portal Tombs, on February 4th.  Despite spending a big part of 2020-2021 locked inside, writing and recording new material, Stockholm-based MASS WORSHIP did complete a highly successful tour in support of Polish death metal legends Vader. ‘Portal Tombs’ is a terrifying but electrifying exploration of the gloomy depths of human nature: a monolithic manifestation of the musical force that is MASS WORSHIP. Drawing inspiration from bands such as At The Gates, Mastodon and Meshuggah, MASS WORSHIP could be likened to many bands, but somehow forge their musical identity into something exceptionally distinctive and transcendent, and with enough confidence and conviction to win over even the most orthodox fans of the genre.

Welcome to Metal Digest!

The band was formed in 2018, so less than 5 years ago. Has your practice changed since then? What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an artist?

Originally we were spread out over 4 countries, and it was really hard and expensive to get things going. Since then we’ve essentially moved all operations to Sweden – 3 of the guys live in Stockholm, I live on the west coast but I’m basically a 3-4 hour train ride away. I’d say that has made a huge difference, we’ve grown much closer and I get this sense that we have an incredible focus as a band nowadays.

We’re very serious about the band and everything we do!

You draw inspiration from bands such as At The Gates, Mastodon and Meshuggah. How do you feel when people compare your work to theirs?

We’re not really interested in trying to mimic those or any other bands, I think we rather have similar aspirations to those three bands. We want to carve out our own sound and be our own thing. And when it comes to actual writing, I think inspiration primarily comes from other art forms and other genres of music, because to me art is just another means of communication, and we’re trying to communicate and evoke specific feelings. Books, paintings, movies and ideas in general play a huge part of that inspiration.

You have toured with Vader and now you are about to hit the road with LIK. Do you get anxious before playing live?

Unfortunately, our tour with LIK got postponed for a year, so that will take place in 2023. But yeah, sometimes I think we do get anxious before a show! It’s much easier on tour than stand-alone shows, because you get into it after a couple of days. Stand-alone shows are hard sometimes, you really need to try your best to get into that mood, focus and try to remove the abstractions of everyday life.

Another, very cool fact about the band is that you have been featured on Iggy Pop’s BBC Radio show playlist. Please, tell us about this experience!

Yeah, that was amazing! I couldn’t believe my ears, Iggy is a pure legend and it means the world to us that not only did he play it, but he actually liked it. There’s a clip on our instagram if you scroll down a bit, for anyone interested in hearing it.

We’ve noticed quite a few collabs on this record. Jonas Stålhammar (At The Gates), Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway (Napalm Death), and Jonas Renkse (Katatonia/Bloodbath) are all featured on the record. How did you communicate what you wanted from each artist> Did you have the complete creative control of you let everyone do their thing?

I’m a firm believer in giving guests complete control, and all of these guys are highly experienced, top-notch musicians so whatever they do will inevitably sound good.

It adds a cool touch of something else, just in the right amount in my opinion! Super happy that all these incredible people were up for it, and felt comfortable leaving their mark on our record.

How do you balance your time in the studio with other commitments such as a part-time job, family, admin?

It’s hard at times, demands a lot of time, energy and money, and on our levels you’re not really paid enough to let go of your day job. Since we’ve been doing it for so long, most of us have built up lives around touring, rather than the other way around. So most of us can work on the road, or at least take leave whenever needed.

Portal Tombs is set for release on February 4th. What does this album say about the culture in which it was produced?

The whole aim with the record is essentially to try to capture the emotion that erupts in a society that has lost its future vision, its forward momentum and hope. I sincerely believe that’s where we are today, and that most people have this relentless feeling of uneasiness constantly lurking under the surface – we know things are bad, we know they’re about to get worse – but we have, as so many civilizations before us, failed.

We need new ideas and stories that elevate those ideas and bring us forward – but before we get there, we need to bring those suppressed emotions to the surface and address them seriously.

Thank you for the wonderful interview.

Until we meet again,

Chelf on behalf of Metal Digest.

www.metal-digest.com

www.chelf.net

MASS WORSHIP is Gustav Eriksson (guitar), Dadde Stark (bass), Claes Nordin (vocals), and Fred Forsberg (drums). 

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